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Why America should legalize prostitution

William Rein

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Illustration by Miles Huffman

We live in a revolutionary time. It’s easier than ever to organize movements, spread a vision and make a massive impact.

We also live in a distorted time, in which it feels like humans are further from their humanity and restrictions run heavy. The human tendency to prohibit others and impose judgments for personally inconsequential actions is a mind-boggling and increasingly prevalent one.

It doesn’t take a libertarian mindset to want to change society. It only requires pragmatic sensibilities, a touch of objectivism and a disillusionment with the current majoritarian creed.

Few things should be fixed more than mala prohibita laws — the legislature prohibiting behaviors deemed by society to be unfavorable, rather than behaviors that are morally evil.

A major one is sex work.

Prostitution should be legal.

It often feels like the only barrier is a society of puritanical simpletons, but there are legitimate concerns. The human trafficking that Chico State’s Stop Trafficking of Persons is based on demolishing is often confused as inherent to prostitution.

If legalized, the unsafe, archetypal pattern of pimp and hooker and trick could be readily dissolved. In a study of 854 street prostitutes, 95 percent had been physically assaulted and 75 percent raped.

This exploitative model could be easily transformed to the healthier brothel system.

Nevada is already ahead of its time with 19 legal brothels, all requiring condoms and weekly tests for sexual transmitted diseases. This business ventures gross $75 million each year.

I respect sex workers more than most. Knowing a few women who cam or have anonymously had sex to make money for the same endeavors as anyone in the work force, I couldn’t be more convinced the job takes exceptional confidence and strength.

Although I probably wouldn’t take a career in sex work (blondes seem to be out of favor right now), it’s a resourceful way to make money on the side. My only foreseeable occupation is a hype man anyway, on stage with E-40 ad libbing and dealing out “eaouuhh”s between lines.

Arguments from opponents of legalized sex work often stem from moral or religious grounds (both of which are always illegitimate) or claims of decriminalization as antifeminist.

The problem with the latter is that women are capable, responsible adults and the princess attitude – protect our women, because they’re pure and innocent — is sexist in itself.

If people can’t consider legalizing sex work for any of the above reasons, then they should just acknowledge that prostitution is going to happen no matter what, and pragmatic legalization could end the unhealthy reality of street hooking.

We need to change things. Disease, jail time, societal alienation and sexual assault don’t need to be an occupational hazard for sex workers.

The current mindset toward sex is wrong. It’s time the poison of conservative restrictionism is plucked from the bloodstream of American policy.

Never be tolerant of the intolerant.

William Rein can be reached at [email protected] or @toeshd on Twitter.

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Why America should legalize prostitution